Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BP Hope Magazine Confirms my Writing Theory

I've been strongly recommending that those with Bipolar Disorder and those that battle other Mental Health issues use journaling as a coping technique. It seems that others are giving the same advice.

I've even created a self-help guide "Words Heal." I discussed it in the Journal Therapy post.

BpHope posted an article about the Power of the Page.

Did you know about the benefits of Journaling? 

Benefits of Journaling

Medical studies show that writing about trauma or emotions helps people experience happiness, or an increase in health and productivity. 
James Pennebaker, discovered that people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences feel happier and less anxious.  Through his studies, Pennebaker found that those who made meaning out of their gained insight from writing were healthier than those who simply wrote the details of their day. 

Simply put: Words Heal. Founder and President of WRITECOVERY, Inc, Vicki M Taylor says, writing is a powerful tool for individuals who are struggling with the healing process.” She went on to say, “Words heal. Once you get the story out on paper, it’s out of your mind and you can move on.”

“Writing is a process,” says Stephen King. Although he meant it for fiction writing, he was never more right when it comes to journal writing. Writing is a process.  It helps us understand what’s going on inside of us. It helps us sort out the emotions building up inside of us that threaten to blow. We have thoughts racing around in our mind, what do we do? We get out our journal and we write. And write. And write until the thoughts no longer run through our mind but race along the pages of our journal.

Journaling can have an overall healing affect on those with physical and mental illnesses. 

Doctors see it all the time. The patient uses the journal to track their illness, their symptoms, their thoughts and feelings about what they’re experiencing. Before long, they’re writing about how they’re coping, dreaming about what they’re going to do when they get well, and thinking about ways to help themselves improve their health.

 If you desire, you can share your journal with your physician or mental health professional if you feel it might help your case. If not, don’t. It’s yours. It’s private. Don’t be pressured into exposing your private thoughts.

If you’ve never written in a journal before, it’s very easy. You don’t need a fancy journal or pen to start. A 3-ring binder, pen, pencil or even an online Microsoft Word or Text document is just fine to start. 

Here is a simple start to journaling. Try writing first, then move on to more imaginative journals, like visual journaling, gratitude journaling, or even prayer journals.

Wait for a time when you have about   20 – 30 minutes of uninterrupted space. 
  •         Indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter.
  • ·      Get comfortable.
  • ·      Have a beverage close by.
  • ·      You might want to start a ritual. Light a candle. Some Incense. Turn on soft music.

Open to a blank page. Identify the date. Some people like to identify the location as well. Then take a deep breath. Reach for your pen, set it to paper, and let your mind free.

Journaling is a liberating experience. Journaling is a healing experience. You’ll find that you’ll live a healthier, more spiritual, and less negative life. Joy will replace passivity. You’ll gain a new perspective, change your negative thought patterns, and find a way to let your inner critic out onto the pages of your journal instead of running around in your head wreaking havoc.

What are you going to write about?

You are going to write about anything and everything. It’s your journal. It’s your private thoughts. It’s a “judge free” zone. It can be a laundry list. It can be a bucket list. It can be a letter to the neighbor down the street who always leaves their trashcans in the middle of the street. 

My point is this: Whatever pops into your mind, can pop onto the pages of your journal. 

Try it for a week. See how refreshing and freeing it becomes. Don’t try the whole 20-30 minutes at once. Try for a little five minute practice and see how it works for you. Then, try it again. And again.

I bet before long, you’ll have thoughts in your mind and you’ll be longing to reaching for your journal to get them out of your head. 

My suggestion to you is start carrying your journal around with you during the day, so you can slip away for a few minutes to write a sentence or two. 

You know you’re going to want to. It’s going to feel that good.

I hope that you'll not only heed the advice here, but do your own research about using journaling to heal. Find what works best for you. You don't have to be an English Major to do this. Anyone can put words to paper in any form, syntax, and spelling and grammar be damned!

If you have questions, I would be happy to help you find a way to get started.

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